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NZCFS Wellington Branch September 2016 Newsletter


 Next Branch Meeting

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 at 5.45pm

The Confucius Institute at Victoria UniversityConfucius InstituteWill speak on

Teaching Chinese from Cook Strait to the Bay of Plenty

Mandarin Language AssistantsCome and hear about life and work in New Zealand from the unique point of view of the Confucius Institute’s staff and Mandarin Language Assistants from China. The team, led by Director Wen Powles and including nine of this year’s Mandarin Language Assistants, will cover highlights of their work with over a hundred schools and many hundreds of students in the region, promoting Chinese language and culture both in the classroom and out into the communities.

An optional Chinese buffet meal, supplied by the Fujiyama Café, will follow the meeting at 7pm. Orders for the $12 meal (please pay at the door) will be taken up till 6pm.  If you think you may be arriving late, please let the Secretary know in advance. 

map of Connolly HallConnolly Hall
Guildford Terrace, off Hill Street, Thorndon, Wellington (see map)
   (Car park up Guildford Tce beside Hall)

(A full PDF of this newsletter is available at nzcfs-newsletter-september-2016)

10 Sep           Mandarin Corner, Seminar Room, 20 Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington
12-18 Sep      Free Mandarin Te Papa Highlights Tour, 4pm – 5pm daily, Te Papa
13 Sep           Discovering a paper son through digital fingerprints, 12.10-1pm, National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets. Free attendance
14 Sep           Chinese characters: From bone to byte, 12.10-1pm, National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets. Free attendance
16 Sep           Chinese brush painting demonstration, 12.10-1pm, National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets. Free attendance
Until 7 Oct     Feng Bin & Lee Ka-sing Exhibition, Level 3 Library, Victoria University of Wellington

The dates Connolly Hall has been booked for monthly meetings this year are 19 October and 16 November.

The NZCFS would like to warmly welcome Natalie Bowie. We look forward to your attendance at our events and meetings. 


michael-powles-and-carl-workerAt the August Wellington Branch meeting, Mr Carl Worker spoke about his experiences as a New Zealand diplomat in China, and his opinions on how China will develop in future, in particular, its relationship with the outside world. The meeting was jointly hosted with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, and NZCFS welcomed the attendance of their members and members of the New Zealand China Trade Association

Mr Worker was originally posted to Beijing in the 1980’s and remained there until the 1990’s. He was then New Zealand’s Consul General in Hong Kong from 1994 to 1998, before finally becoming New Zealand’s Ambassador to China from 2009 to 2015. His experience of China covers from the start of the reform period initiated by Deng Xiao Ping up until nearly the present day.

The one characteristic that Mr Worker detected in the behaviour of the Chinese leadership was consistency. He is firmly of the opinion that having decided to embark on free market reforms in the 1980’s, the Chinese have consistently followed a policy of “peaceful development”, and that despite some misgivings as a result of the 2008 financial crash, they are still committed to this. He also believes that the recent anti-corruption drive by Xi Jinping is partly being driven by the need to remove some individuals who are opposed to further free market reforms.

Carl WorkerAs for the relationship between China and New Zealand, Mr Worker believes that there is something of a “special relationship” between the two countries. As evidence, he cited the free trade agreements that were signed between the two countries, and New Zealand’s providing of assistance and training to the Chinese in the early stages of their reforms. He also stated that the Chinese felt that New Zealanders were more likely to give China a fairer appraisal of what it is trying to achieve and why than most other countries.

At the end of his talk, Mr Worker fielded a number of questions from the floor. Matters of particular interest were China’s recent actions in the South China Sea, and if New Zealand’s relationship with the United States could be a source of future problems with China.

In response to the first question, Mr Worker felt that China’s actions could partly be explained by the leaderships need to appear strong in matters of national security, especially while trying to remove members of the Chinese national security establishment who were opposed to further market reforms. He also felt that since China has only recently regained major power status after a break of two hundred years, it does not fully appreciate how its actions are perceived by the rest of the world.

nzcfs-wellington-august-meetingIn response to the second, Mr Worker did not feel there were likely to be major difficulties, as the Chinese have a quite hard-headed appreciation of New Zealand’s relationship with the United States and fully understand its implications for China-NZ relations. He also felt that the relationship with the United States is beneficial to New Zealand, as it leads to China giving its relationship with New Zealand a higher priority than it would otherwise.

We would like to thank all those who attended the August Branch meeting. Around one hundred people turned up to hear Mr Worker speak, and we hope you continue to come to our future meetings.


NZCFS Wellington life-membersDuring the August Branch meeting, the Wellington Branch recognised the contribution of our new Life Members of the Society in acknowledgement of their outstanding service over many years. The Society can offer Life Membership to members that have made considerable contributions to the NZCFS over a long time period, and have aided in the Society’s goals and aims at the local and national levels. We are very pleased to announce that the following members join Ben Fon as Life Members: Bernie and Elaine Richmond, Douglas Day, Christine Strickland, Ray Brownrigg, and Rob and Joan McKibbin.


China National Day DinnerTickets to the 67th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China Dinner can be purchased from Mr Ben Fon. The Dinner is at the Grand Century Restaurant, 84 Tory Street on Sunday 25 September at 6.30 pm. The cost of each ticket is $32.00.

Contact details for Mr Ben Fon are: Mobile phone number 021 2155550. Email: [email protected].



A Chinese Language Week event with Master Stan Chan: Chinese brush painting demonstration, Friday 16 September, 12.10-1pm, National Library

events-stanchan-pandaStan Chan practises and teaches traditional Chinese brush painting and calligraphy, and western oil and watercolour techniques. As well as teaching adults and children in his studio/gallery, Stan holds workshops for art groups, art classes for schools, and demonstrations of paintings.

In the brush painting demonstration Stan Chan will talk a bit about the Chinese brushes, Xuan paper (rice paper), ink stick, ink stone and Chinese colours. He will demonstrate Chinese calligraphy and do brush painting of pandas, bamboo and some flowers in Chinese ink and colour. If time is permitting people may like to have a hands on experience with the artworks. Free attendance.

Discovering a paper son from digital fingerprints, Tuesday 13 September, 12.10-1pm, National Library

To mark New Zealand Chinese Language Week, the National Library has invited Richard Foy to speak at the month’s event. In this talk Richard will tell the unexpected and occasionally improbable tale of encountering his grandparents in the collections and holdings of the National Library and National Archives. It’s a tale of deeply personal, and sometimes emotional, connections with his Chinese past that brings him face-to-face with his cultural heritage, the sacrifices of his forebears, and what it means to be Chinese in New Zealand today. Richard is the Director of Digital Strategy for the Information & Knowledge Services Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs. Attendance is free.

Chinese characters: From bone to byte WEDNESDAY 14 September, 12.10-1pm, National Library

Chinese is now the predominant language of the Internet; this set of some 60,000 ideographs, first used in the 2nd millennium BCE, enters a fifth millennium of continuous development with its global stretch enhanced by both the return of China to a position of world economic strength and the spread of the diasporic Chinese-speaking population.

On the occasion of the Chinese Language Week of 2016, this illustrated talk will discuss the diversity of the spoken languages of China and the historical development of a single written script, focusing on the origins of the script as understood from both a mythological and historical perspective

Free Mandarin Te Papa Highlights Tour: Mon 12 – Sun 18 Sep 2016, 4pm – 5pm daily

Discover New Zealand’s history and the stories behind Te Papa’s collections. Experience this world-class interactive museum with a guided tour in Mandarin Chinese to celebrate Chinese Language Week. Bookings are essential. Please visit the following site for more information: https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/visit/whats-on/events/mandarin-tours

MANDARIN CORNER 汉语角 Saturdays 3.15-5pm

Mandarin cornerSeminar Room, 20 Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.

Mandarin Corner (Wellington), established in 1995 by NZCFS, is a weekly event where students learning Chinese meet with native speakers of Chinese for conversation and cultural activities in a friendly, relaxed setting, and is open to all level. Come along if you are interested, and attendance is free. Mandarin corner does not run during school holidays. For more information contact Yinghui Li at [email protected].


This exhibition juxtaposes two suites of photographic works: Feng Bin’s Hutong at Night (2005), large brooding nightscapes of the vanishing old neighbourhoods of Beijing, and Lee Ka-sing’s Z FICTION (2008), intricate mindscapes based on the fictions and legends of the past, yet each with a narrative arc towards the future.

Feng Bin studied photography at Beijing Film Academy and has exhibited work in China, Germany, Poland, New Zealand and the USA. He lives and works in Shenzhen, China. Lee Ka-sing is one of the foremost photo-based artists in the Hong Kong art scene during the 1990s.  Landscape | Mindscape runs from 12 May to 7 October, 2016 on Level 3 in Kelburn Library. For more information about this exhibition contact the Confucius Institute at Victoria University at [email protected].


The NZCFS will select up to 500 NZ graduates over 3 years to be Cultural Ambassadors working with education providers in Zhengzhou to teach Chinese students at all levels. While helping improve the students’ communication capabilities and their knowledge of New Zealand culture, at the same time they will have first-hand experience of China and its rich culture. 

Project-Middle-China-image-lion-While these Cultural Ambassadors are in Henan, they will spend some of their time teaching Western culture and English language to the Chinese students, and the rest of the time they will experience the rich culture and life in Henan. The organisers are the NZCFS, Zhengzhou Youxie (Zhengzhou People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries) and New Zealand Chinese Youth Federation.

To apply, please send your CV and a digital passport style photo to Ken Liu, our project manager, his email address is [email protected], please put “Project Middle China Application” in the Subject of your email. For more information, please visit: https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/24569/project-middle-china-work-and-experience-in-henan-where-chinese-civilization-began/.


Michelle EliaKia Ora! My name is Michelle Elia and I am Shandan Bailie School’s newest English Teacher for the 2016-2017 school year.

Originally from Porirua in the Wellington region, I grew up in a Pacific Island household where my mother migrated from the Cook Islands and my father from Samoa at a young age. My cultural background is something I hold very dearly and I celebrate it every chance I get. I have travelled and worked in New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, and the US over the years… and I’m only 25! I have my Bachelors of Commerce from Victoria University, am a certified personal trainer, and am currently studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (where my papers count towards a Masters in Public Health also) and a Certificate in Pacific Development. I have a great interest in the diaspora of Pacific Peoples over the last thousand years to New Zealand and how epidemics rise as a result of Westernized culture. And would you look at that – China is actually the origin of a good chunk of people living in the Pacific!

Michelle EliaBecoming an English teacher in China was always on my bucket list from a young age. When I told a colleague at my workplace in Wellington, she redirected me to the New Zealand China Friendship Society website and recommended that I apply for a teaching role at Shandan Bailie School. I can’t say I was hesitant because I definitely wasn’t and sent a message to Dave, who replied almost instantly! After meeting him and being in direct communication with Ma Guohua, I was on my way to China! My first impression of China was simply – WOW. This is because I have found that a lot of the Chinese culture definitely crosses over into Pacific culture, especially in terms of collectiveness within families, the hospitality (I thought overfeeding was something that originated in the Pacific – boy was I wrong!), and the climate. Shandan is a small county in comparison to many cities in China, however, I think it is absolutely perfect. Coming from Porirua, Shandan feels like home away from home. Everybody is so nice, welcoming, curious, but eager to meet and learn – this is ever so evident from my assistant Jing and her family.

I know that the next year will bring some great memories, and one of my main goals is to definitely be fluent in speaking Mandarin by August 2017! I am eager to teach and influence the students of SBS in a positive way, share my experiences, and also learn from them in the process. I can proudly say that moving to China is one of my greatest accomplishments so far and I hope I am able to share more of my story with you all!


NZCFS-Northwest-Silk-Road-Tour-2017-Building-250x195The latest NZCFS educational tour in the “Explore China” series is a first to travel deep into Xinjiang, skirt around then cross the Taklamakan desert to explore the ancient civilisations as well as the dynamic cultures in this area. Follow the silk road west through Gansu to enjoy the legacies left by diverse travellers on the road, ending with NZCFS’ own connection to Bailie schools and cooperative through Rewi Alley.

Xi’an to Kashgar: Explore the ancient historical civilisations and buried cities in the vast Xinjiang Province. Enjoy the culture of the Uighur and other peoples, and travel through dramatic landscapes as we journey east by train and coach along the Old Silk Road into Gansu. Follow the legacy of Rewi Alley and the Bailie school he founded. For more information on our tours, please visit: https://nzchinasociety.org.nz/news/tours-to-china/.